Jamie Lynn Spears (born April 4, 1991) is an American actress, singer, and the younger sister of pop singer Britney Spears. In 2005, she came to prominence after being cast in the Nickelodeon television series Zoey 101, where she portrayed the title character Zoey Brooks.
In 2007, sixteen-year-old Spears generated controversy after she announced that she was pregnant. She gave birth to daughter Maddie Aldridge the following year, effectively sending her career into hiatus. In 2013, Spears relaunched her career as a country music recording artist, and released her debut single “How Could I Want More” from her first LP.
Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi to James and Lynne Spears. She has two siblings, Bryan and Britney Spears. She attended Parklane Academy, where she was a cheerleader and point guard of the basketball team. She finished her education via online correspondence and received her GED in February 2008 through Tangipahoa Parish School System Adult Education Center.
On December 20, 2007, in an interview with OK! magazine, Spears announced that she was pregnant by her then-boyfriend, Casey Aldridge. She was 16 years old at the time. Aldridge, whom she had been dating for two years, was 18. Spears gave birth to a daughter, Maddie Briann Aldridge on June 19, 2008 at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb.
Spears confirmed her engagement to Aldridge in March 2008 after it was reported she was seen wearing an engagement ring. In May 2008, the couple moved back to Liberty, Mississippi, and purchased a house, with Spears stating they would raise their child there. Spears and Aldridge called off their engagement in March 2009, and Spears ended the relationship and moved out in February 2010. Spears and Aldridge reconciled in August 2010, but ended their relationship a second time in November 2010. In April 2010, Spears moved from Liberty, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue her long desired music career.
Controversy surfaced because Spears was two years below the California age of consent, raising questions about her and Aldridge’s age difference, and whether Aldridge could or would be charged with statutory rape (although Spears was neither from California nor living there). It was later confirmed that Aldridge was just under two years older than Spears, which meant that he could be charged only with a misdemeanor under California law, since the crime is only charged as a felony if the two people having sex are at least three years apart in age. On June 4, 2008, while in Amite County, Mississippi, the Spears family filed a complaint against Edwin Merrino, a paparazzo who, they believed, was following and stalking the couple. Merrino denied the allegation. He was released later in the day after posting a $1,096 bond.
In September 2008, following the announcement that Bristol Palin was pregnant, comparisons between the two cases were made.
She subsequently began a relationship with Jamie Watson, a businessman who owns communications service Advanced Media Partners. After two years of off and on dating, they announced their engagement in March 2013. On March 14, 2014, she married Watson in New Orleans.